Scott Detweiler
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Scott Detweiler


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"Blues Druthers"

Blues druthers
New Orleans native and former Burbank resident will premiere his instrumental piece inspired by Katrina.

By Joyce Rudolph

From classical to blues, composer Scott Detweiler never strays too far from his New Orleans roots.

The former Burbank resident has written a blues instrumental piece recognizing the devastation of his hometown following Hurricane Katrina. “The Sun Will Rise” is a 20-minute piece in four movements for string quartet and alto saxophone. It will premiere tonight at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park.


“I wrote it based on my experience with the Katrina disaster and its effect on my family and my friends,” he said. “My parents are just getting started on their home repairs and it’s been two years. My brother was displaced and moved to Houston. He lost his job in Houston, and is back in New Orleans living with my parents.”

Detweiler, 44, was commissioned to write the piece by a friend, Whitney Griggs, who is a cellist and founder of the Bright Light Chamber Players. She knew of his catalog of compositions including chamber music, operas, ballets and a musical, he said.

Griggs came to a show Detweiler performed with his band at a blues club in Sherman Oaks in January. After the show, she invited his band to play at a charity event and asked him to write an instrumental piece that the string quartet could play. He said yes.

“It’s a great piece,” Griggs said. “It’s mostly a blues piece. The string quartet provides a blues base that encourages the saxophone to improvise. It’s programmatic to the Katrina tragedy, respectful and hopeful.”

The purpose of the piece is to remind people that New Orleans still needs everyone’s support and help, Detweiler said.

“If you stay in the French Quarter, you wouldn’t know it happened,” he said. “But when you start driving around in the neighborhoods, it’s a different story.”

The piece is in four movements. The first movement is called “Glisten,” and depicts the lazy ebb and flow of the flood water right after the levy broke, he said.

“The only light that was visible was from the lights of the emergency vehicles or the stars and the moon, and they would glisten off the water or any surface,” he said.

The second movement, “Dixie,” has more of a Dixieland feeling, showing how New Orleans should sound, he said. The third movement, “Dirge,” is a very solemn sad piece of music, a funeral for what was.

Fourth movement is called “Cigar,” and it depicts prosperity.

“The music is very bouncy and upbeat,” he said. “And I picture a heavy-set man driving his restored car through the streets with a big cigar in his mouth because if he can afford a cigar he doesn’t need to worry about money to buy food. Things are getting better.”

VAVV Records, which will produce and release Detweiler’s CD in February, is recording the piece. A recorded copy of “The Sun Will Rise” is needed for Detweiler to submit it for a Pulitzer Prize, said Sebastian Sheehan, president of the record company.

“I can’t wait to hear it myself,” he said. “I love working with him. He is extremely focused and very motivated.”

The string quartet kicks off the concert with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s compositions, the Flute Quartet in D Major and the Horn Quintet in E Flat Major, Griggs said. “The Sun Will Rise” follows played by the string quartet and Larry McRae, a member of Detweiler’s band, on alto saxophone. After intermission, Detweiler and his band will perform his original blues compositions.

“I like to mix it up at concerts,” Griggs said.
- LA Times

"Vintage Guitar Magazine"

See Scott Detweiler for Gomez Amps & V A V V RECORDS in the current issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine. - Vintage Guitar


Made In New Orleans - V A V V RECORDS
South of A Dozen
Bridge of Eyes
Slumber Tongue
Majesty; SQ#1 sc
Scott Detweiler Live In New Orleans
Scott Detweiler Live in Los Angeles



Growing up in New Orleans gave Detweiler a unique opportunity to absorb the influences from legendary artists, such as The Neviille Brothers and James Booker. What is unique about Detweiler is, not only that he is a guitar player (most New Orleans greats are piano players) but also his ability to fuse the elements of funk, blues and jazz into his own unique musical wizardry. After 25 years in the music business, VAVV Records signed him to his first recording contract. The crossover album, to be released in early 2008, will redefine the parameters of the possibilities suggested by the genres of blues and jazz.